“Do one thing everyday that scares you”. It was almost during the same time of the year in 2013, when I signed up for my Chadar Trek 2014 with the Himalayan Explorers Club. As scared as I was of how it might turn out to be, I had a million questions running in my mind, and I googled my nights out to read up more and more about it. I knew I wanted to do it, but I needed to be sure for somethings before I took my final decision.
So I hit my keyboard and shooted some long list of questions to Rohit Khattar, the Founder of the club and my trek lead – for which I got my replies almost promptly and positively. Yes, he did convince me to do the trek, only to never look back and think twice about my decision. Having a personal experience of going through all these mixed feelings, here I am, answering the 10 basic questions you need to be sure of before you press that ‘Go for it’ button…!
#1. YES, You can do it.
If you are wondering you can do this trek or not? Trust me you can. I have seen people from all parts of the world doing it, of all ages from 20 to even 55 years old, all you need is a really strong willpower and the ‘Just do it’ attitude! Your weight, size, gender and physical strength are all secondary – and its your ‘fighting the fear’ mindset all that matters.
#2. Sometimes a girl can do it better than boys. (No offence.)
I remember when I asked Rohit, can I do it being a girl? All he said was a big ‘Yes’! Well, the most tricky part of the trek is bearing the cold and not the trek itself. Women have a stronger mind and a stronger willpower which makes them do it better than men. I am merely 47 kgs and tiny, but I still I managed to do it alongside healthy grown up men. So if I could do it, you can do it too.
#3. It is colder than you think.
If your question is – ‘Is it cold and can I bear it?’ Then, you should know it is VERY cold, but with the right protective gear, you can definitely bear it. The temperatures drop anywhere between -14 to -30 degrees, and even the thought of touching cold water will scare you. Bonfires, hot tea and the hot rubber water bottle will be your best friends on the trek, and if you layer yourself up with ultra warm clothing as instructed by the trek lead, you will get through the cold just fine.
#4. Right equipment is a must.
If you are thinking preparing / packing for this trek is like any other trek you have been to – then you are wrong. Please note you will have to shop for the right equipment as suggested by your trek lead and there is no way you can skip out of it. As niche as the trek itself, even the gear for it is very specific that comes at a cost, even though there are ways to procure it cheaper. If you do decide to go ahead with it – please go through this link which gives you guidelines and tips on how to pack right for the trek – http://streettrotter.com/2014/07/11/how-to-pack-right-for-a-tricky-trek/
#5. It is not difficult.
The Chadar trek is an experience of great views, extreme cold and challenging yourself – but it is not difficult. The trek is fairly smooth as you walk over the ice and not climb or walk over a sloping terrain. It is rather comfortable and straight, slippery at times and all you have to do is balance your steps on the Chadar. The walk is fairly long each day, but you stop at regular intervals for breaks, with great stamina being the key to finish it well!
#6. It is all about ‘Mind over body’.
‘The phrase “mind over body” represents the concept that the mind, through exercise or other methods, can be utilized to allow the body to defy its own limits’ – And the Chadar trek is a classic example of it. If in your mind you believe you can do it, and you can bear the cold, if your mind doesn’t fear signing up for something that is ruthlessly quoted as the ‘wildest trek in the world’, and if your mind is stronger than your body – There is nothing easier than this trek, and you will only want to do it again.
#8. You will not die, not even get injured.
At times more than you yourself, it will be your family and friends who will be scared for you signing up for the Chadar trek. The internet is full of scary articles about how people can severely get injured on a trek, but from my experience you will survive this in one piece. Even getting injured is highly unlikely, as you have a great porter team looking after you. Follow the rules as instructed and don’t be over adventurous. There is no way anything will happen to you.
#7. Basic exercise and workout will make you fit for it.
Months and hours for workout making you fit for the trek is not really required, but if you are the fitness types you certainly have an advantage. If you are not, a few hours of running and basic exercise will build your stamina enough for doing it successfully. Even though rigorous workout is not important, one should not take the trek lightly and start working their way towards it a month before.
#9. Yes you can do it Solo and still love it.
Most of you will be looking for that one daring friend who will be ready to do it with you. Well if that is the case – stop looking and just sign up. The fact is doing something as scary is an individual desire and not a fun bestie trip. Don’t let the lack of personal company stop you from doing what might turn out to be your true calling in life. There will be a lot of people in your batch who will be doing it solo, and its more than easy to make new friends while you are at it. You will only come back knowing a huge gang of people from different parts of the world who will share your passion and your craziness for the extreme!
#10. Yes, it will be ‘THE’ experience of your life.
Last but not least – Is the Chadar trek worth it? Yes, from the deepest corner of both my mind and my heart – IT IS. Be it the fear, the adrenaline rush, the freezing cold, or everything you will feel during your trip – every single moment of it, every single person you meet and every time you slip and you fall – It will all be the most memorable daring experience of your life and you will never ever regret it!
GO FOR IT.
- For more information about the trek – http://himalayantramp.wordpress.com/
- And if you have more questions to ask me by my experience just drop us a comment! HAPPY CHADAR TREK-KING!